I’ve written before about the great work done by Everybody Wins!, a wonderful literacy organization that brings adults into schools to read aloud to children, teaching them the joy of the written word.
As a former teacher, and as a public servant, I know that improving literacy and sparking children’s interest in reading at an early age are vital to their futures. So much of the information available to us--as citizens, as students, as job-seekers, and as leaders--requires the ability to read.
And last night, I was excited to have the opportunity to honor the great work of Everybody Wins! in pursuit of that important literacy mission when I attended its 17th Annual Gala Celebration.
In my 13 years as a mentor with Everybody Wins!, I saw firsthand the difference that reading aloud with children can make in their struggle to learn to read on their own. The experience was incredibly rewarding, and I was proud to see the students’ literacy skills improve from week to week, and year to year.
So imagine my surprise when, last night, I was reunited with one of the students I worked with in the program 15 years ago, Ashley Walton. I read to Ashley as part of the program while she was in the first through third grades, and now she's a college graduate.
It was great to see Ashley again – of course, she is no longer the young child I knew many years ago, but she has grown into a bright, motivated young woman.
And I know that, thanks to the dedicated individuals who volunteer with Everybody Wins!, thousands of other kids are given the same opportunity to reach their full potential.
I encourage everyone who can to become involved with Everybody Wins! The difference that the program makes is truly immeasurable. Just ask Ashley Walton.